The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Godfrey Phillips game for cigars

New Delhi, Sept. 29: Cigarette major Godfrey Phillips India Ltd (GPI) is now setting sights on cigars. The company plans to manufacture a host of new tobacco-based products but is cagey about giving out any details.

The company’s aggressive foray into the tobacco-related businesses flies in the face of the government’s efforts to discourage smoking in public, which has led to a sharp decline in cigarette consumption over the past few years.

“We are investing heavily in developing new products and improving the existing ones,” GPI president K. K. Modi said. The company also plans to launch several premium brands of packaged tea.

The company refused to divulge other tobacco products in the pipeline as it did not want to alert its competitors.

GPI, which is into packaged tea manufacture, has witnessed a decline in sales in the first quarter of the current year. It now plans to restructure its tea product portfolio. The company also plans to outsource some services in the tea business to improve efficiency.

During the first quarter of this year, the tea business achieved sales of Rs 7.2 crore as against Rs 9 crore in the corresponding period last year.

The company, which owns the Super Cup brand, went in for a brand extension last fiscal by introducing Super Cup duet in the mid-premium segment. The other tea brands of the company are Rangoli at the low end, and Symphony at the high end of the spectrum.

The company attributed the fall in tea sales largely to restructuring of sales and distribution in order to withdraw from unviable businesses and focus on larger towns in the north and east.

GPI has clocked a net profit of Rs 47.80 crore for the year 2001-02 as against Rs 46.50 crore in the previous year. The company posted a turnover of Rs 960 crore for the year 2001-02.

The company has approved a dividend of Rs 18.50 per share as against that of Rs 16 per share in the previous year.

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